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    September 30, 2012
    12:00 - 2:00pm PDT  

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and a good sunday afternoon to you, i'm craig melvin, you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. it's 37 days until the election day. three days until the first presidential debate. this morning, a stark reminder of the longest war in american history, the american military death toll inside afghanistan has now reached 2,000, let's get to that developing news, nbc's tia abawi is in kabul, afghanistan, mike taibbi standing by. what happened with the latest attack. >> hi there, craig, well this
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occurred yesterday just west of the capital, kabul. it happened at a checkpoint on highway 1, apparently a new checkpoint where americans were there apparently training afghan security forces there were american service members as well as contractors at that checkpoint. there were approached by afghan soldiers, apparently a conversation ensued and then an afghan soldier then fired at the americans, killing one of the service members and a contractor. a contractor that was there to train the afghan security forces. the americans then fired back at the afghans, killing at least three of them this makes it the 38th insider attack that we've seen in afghanistan this year alone. killing at least 53 coalition service members and contractors, as well. this is a disturbing trend that we've seen this year. considering back in 2007, we only saw two such attacks. and it's eroding the trust between the afghan soldiers and the american, and the american counterparts and the americans don't really know if they can trust the people that they're fighting alongside of them.
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>> what type of precautions are commanders in the field taking to try to prevent these insider attacks? >> well craig they are taking precautions, they have these guardian agnels actually that go along with these americans just in case an attack like this happens. this just started this year because of this drastic increase. in the last couple of weeks, we actually noticed that they stopped most joint afghan and u.s. patrols. the americans say they've restarted those, but it shows just the lack of trust that is between the afghans and the americans right now. craig? >> atia abawi in kabul, stay safe and thank you for your reporting. to the white house, nbc's mike viquiera standing by with more. >> we haven't heard a lot of the specifically. there was some sketchy reports about what atia was saying, including reports saying it could have been instigated by
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afghan insurgents, that's been downplayed by the u.s. military. it was another one of these unfortunate green-on-blue attacks. there had been a stand-down that ha just been lifted. it was last week when the administration noted that the 33,000 american troops that had been sent in there some two years ago, a little bit less than two years ago as part of the surge authored by president obama had come out. the president never ceases to point out on the campaign trail and elsewhere, that he has ended the war in iraq, has ended the war in afghanistan, two years hence u.s. combat troops are expected to be pulled out of a afghanistan in 2014. so obviously this presents some problems as well as the grim facts on the ground. with these horrific green-on-blue attacks. >> how much does the president anticipate the war in afghanistan will play into the debates on wednesday? >> it's a mixed bag at this point. the president as i pointed out, frequently pointing out that he has a plan to bring american
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troop combat troops out of afghanistan by the end of 2014. he's talked about his success in bringing american combat troops out of iraq. he's talking about some of the successes up until recently. in endorsing the arab spring in libya and tunisia to a certain extent in egypt. but certainly the situation in libya right now, nothing more needs to be said about that. it's become a political as well as a security football now. and the volatile situation in syria. which is very much unsettled. craig? >> mike viquiera at the white house on this sunday, thank you. and the fallout here at home from events in the middle east tops our political headlines today, this morning vice presidential nominee paul ryan said he backs an investigation into the competing reports about how four americans were killed in benghazi. ryan calling the white house's response quote slow and confused. they first said that it was a youtube video and a
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spontaneous mob. we now know it was a planned terrorist attack. if this was one tragic incident, that would be a tragedy in and of itself. the problem is it's part of a bigger picture of the fact that the obama foreign policy is unraveling literally before our eyes on our tv screens. this morning, the obama campaign defended its reaction to events in libbia the campaign's senior adviser said the white house was transparent in its response and dealt with new facts as they amerge. >> as the director of national intelligence said on friday, that was the original information that was given to us. what we don't need is a president or an administration that shoots first and asks questions later. at this point this is what we know and we are thoroughly investigating and that's what exactly what you should do. new this hour, nbc news learned a short time ago that mitt romney is running through a full mock debate this afternoon at an event center in boston conducted under the lights.
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it's something of a dress rehearsal for wednesday in denver. ohio republican senator rob portman playing the role of president obama. mitt romney attended church with his family earlier today. meanwhile, the president will be hold agriculturally this evening in las vegas, nevada, with three days until the first debate between president obama and mitt romney, both campaigns are kicking the expectations game into high gear. here's david plouffe on "meet the press" this morning. >> we have expected all along that governor romney will have a good night. he's prepared more than any candidate in history and he's shown himself to be a good debater through the years. >> joining me now, ann murray, a romney campaign surrogate, former communications director for governor tim pawlenty's presidential campaign. anne marie, good afternoon to you. so now governor romney at his
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campaign headquarters today for some debate prep. we understand that that debate prep has turned into a full-scale dress rehearsal this afternoon. tomorrow he's on the campaign trail. is he ready for wednesday night? >> i think, i think so. i think it's going to be a great opportunity for governor romney to finally have his chance on the stage. to be up against president obama and i think he'll finally get an opportunity to cut through all the negative noise and the clutter that has been on the air waves and has been targeting voters this will be his chance to cut through the noise and speak directly to voters. >> governor romney down at least in nine recent swing state polls. most regard wednesday's debate at his last best chance to win over voters. how is his message or perhaps even his tone. how is it going to be different wednesday than what we've seen and heard so far? >> look, i mean i think he's going to get a chance to speak directly to voters. he's going to talk about this is a clear choice in this election. do people want a romney/ryan ticket that is going to look to create prosperity and jobs and
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upward mobility for americans? or do they want more of the past four years that they have seen, which hasn't been very bright and it's been obama's failed economic policies that haven't been working. so i think this is great opportunity for governor romney to outline his plans. i don't think wednesday is a make-or-break night. i think he'll do great and i think you'll see the numbers in the polls tighten. >> i want to call your attention to some critics of the campaign on the right and the left. on fox news this morning, chris wallace pressed paul ryan for specifics on how a president romney would pay for his proposed across-the-board tax cuts, here's how their heated exchange ended. take a look. >> lowering tax rates by broadening the tax base works and you can -- >> but i have to point out you haven't given me the math. >> well i don't have -- it would take me too long to go through all of the math. let me say it this way, can you
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lower tax rates by 20% across the board. by closing loopholes and still have preferences for the middle class, for things like charitable deductions, for home purchases. for health care. >> here's the things, anne marie. it's a fair point that voters want to know how a president romney would pay for those tax cuts without adding to the deficit. will wednesday be the night that he finally gives voters specifics? >> right. i think a debate is an opportunity to provide more specifics, i think they have provided a lot of specifics. and i think the overall point here is that congressman ryan was making, is that they offer a clear choice. of creating jobs, growing the economy, with their tax plan. or as president obama's plan would raise taxes on small businesses, job creators and do more to have a government-centered economy. which is what we've had for the past four years and we're still at 8.1 unemployment with 23
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million americans looking for jobs. i think that president obama can't change the facts on wednesday night. and i think the contrast will be very clear. so i look forward to seeing that. >> let's talk about the figure, 8.1% unemployment that could be a conservative estimate. when you take into the fact the folks who have just stopped looking. that's been the economic reality in this country for several months now. but governor romney has not been able to move the needle. in fact in many of the battleground states, the needle has started to move in the opposite direction for him. despite these numbers that you just pointed out. why is that? why is the message not resonated yet with just 37 days left? >> you know, i think like i've mentioned earlier. the polls will tighten. you're going to see independents are still very interested, following this very closely. independents are very pro romney and i think you're going to see the numbers -- >> where are these pro romney independents you just mentioned? >> if you look at the independent numbers, there will
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be new polls coming out. keep an eye on independents, when the reality of 23 million people looking for jobs, i don't think they want for mour years of 23 million people looking for jobs when we've had four years to turn this around. and it hasn't happened. and i think, i think when it comes time to choose 36 days is a lifetime in politics, we still have debates, it will be a jump ball to the very end. i wouldn't want to be president obama, who has to explain to the american people on wednesday night, why the, why the unemployment rate is stuck at 8.1%. >> you mentioned undecided, independent voters, i think you and i both know it's 63 people left in america right now. but good luck to you, thank you so much for your time on this sunday afternoon, ann marie. thank you. up next, we fast forward. what if president obama does indeed win? what happens then? then later the supreme court back on the bench tomorrow, the buzz words for the new term -- expected to be, civil rights. plus kobe bryant, dropping a
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polls eye ross cross the country show president obama holding a lead over mitt romney. and the "associated press" poll finds that the president is within reach of being elected for a second term. we wanteded to take that premise and go forward with it we going to ask what the country could expect from a second-term obama. joining me eleanor cli dpmpb t,
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editor and a prolific blogger. we should note that here. i want to start with you, eleanor. because you have a new piece out today where you write that the president will have to move quickly to send signals of resolve, signals of strength if he wins re-election. how would a second-term obama, how would he break the gridlock if the democrats fail to sweep congress? >> i think he would after the election have to set his red lines if you will. in terms of what how far he will go in curbing the deficit. and addressing the fiscal cliff. and then, he will have an opportunity, he will have basically a whole new administration. his cabinet will be gone. most of the people that he relies on in the white house will be moving on. and so, there's an opportunity for him to really set a new agenda. if he wins by a big margin,
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which the polls suggest is possible, he'll be less, i think willing to change his operating style. but one of the major criticisms is that he hasn't reached out enough to capital hill. so you may see a president sending both signals of strength, but also offering the olive branch. and if he wins the hispanic vote, 70-30, which is possible, you might see a republican party suddenly willing to address immigration reform because they'll want to get that issue off the table. otherwise, they'll never win another national election. >> i want to advance the point that eleanor just made there, president obama, he's been criticized by some even in his own party, for not being as engaged with members of congress as some of his predecessors have been. do you think we see him change his personal approach at all in his second term? >> he's got to change it during the lame duck, because of all the different budget and tax issues that are going to expire
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or start up at the beginning of the new year. there are a host of issues that have to be dealt with. republicans not happy with the way that he has engaged with them in the past few years. i spent last week in ohio talking to a lot of republicans, asking them where their red line was. they said we need to be able to work with a president who is willing to give a little bit. the white house certainly understands that in that interim between election day and the new year there's going to have to be a lot of cooperation, win or lose to try to sort out some of these fiscal issues and i suspect with a new mandate he'll begin to reach out. >> eleanor, the outcome of the 2008 election, it led to the birth of course of the tea party. this campaign year, conservative evangelical groups heard relimgous broadcaster pat roberts and family research council president tony perkins, both of them calling for a
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religious revival of sorts in this country. could the conservative christian most after the election, after obama wins, especially by a significant margin, could the conservative christian most become the next tea party? >> i think some of the conservative christians will look at mitt romney, a mormon and a moderate, or man with a moderate history, as someone who wasn't conservative enough and didn't put religion into the political marketplace enough. but i don't think that's going to be the widespread expectation of the american people. i think the tea party is seen as a force that energized the republican party initially. but is now really become an anchor around the party. mitt romney has really has not been allowed to advance more mainstream positions because the right and the religious right are holding him back and i think you can find a number of senate seats that the republicans would have captured in 2010. and in 2012.
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>> we're going to look at one in indiana a little bit later. >> quickly, ed, if it's not the conservative christian coalition that becomes the backlash group, if you will. what might that group look like in terms of demographics at least? >> i think eleanor touched on it at the beginning. if the president is able to win 70% of the hispanic vote or get close to that, republicans and some of them have been talking about it this cycle realize they have to find a way to appeal to the hispanic voters in this country. because if they don't, eleanor is right, they run the risk of becoming a minority party. jeb bush has talked about this. marco rubio has talked about this there are plenty of republican hispanic stars out there. it doesn't mean they have to nominate a hispanic. but they need to find a way to talk to the hispanic community in a more effective way than they have in this cycle. and eleanor is right. immigration is one of the ways to do that. in two years, congress has to run for re-election. if the president gets re-elected
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it could put republicans on the spont and they may have to give in a little bit. they realize if they don't they have no chance of ever winning the hispanic support. >> ed i know you're going to stay with us for a little while. so charge us double. early voting under way around this country. most of the polls show that the president is ahead. but could there be, could there be some sort of october surprise. first, maria shriver and how she made the final decision that allowed arnold to be arnold. we'll talk about that as well. you're watching msnbc. the place for politics. why should our wallets tell us what our favorite color is? why shroom deserves to look great. and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range...
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arnold schwarzenegger writing in his book that he decided not to run for governor of california because i had wife didn't want him to. but she changed her mind after a conversation with her mother. telling her to snap out of it, that arnold would be angry with her for the rest of his life. and that the women always support their men when they want to do something. and schwarzenegger also opens up about the affair he had with his housekeeper who later gave birth to his son. >> i think it was the stupidest thing i've done in the whole relationship. it was terrible. i inflicted tremendous pain on maria and unbelievable pain on the kids. >> the "lornorlando sentinel" reports that disney world has spent more money to influence the political world. it spent more than $2.5 million to fund campaignses and causes,
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about twice as much as it spent back in two 10. most of the money has gone to republican candidates, but disney world says it's not playing partisan politics, just trying to head off expanded casino gambling in the sunshine state. a new study from ucla finds that on average, the faces of republican women in congress are more -- feminine than the faces of democratic women in congress. researchers are basing their findings on a computer analysis of facial features and surveys, more research is needed to understand what might cause the difference. and finally, kobe bryant has some surprising things to say about what it's like playing basketball with president obama. bryant told ellen degeneres that the president actually talks trash on the court. >> he talks a lot of trash. >> really? >> a lot of trash. because he's from chicago, so he's bulls through and through, he's always bulls this, bulls that. i'm like, my goodness.
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>> in fairness, bryant also gave the president credit for a nice jump shot. coming up, what happened between lindsay lohan and the guy she brought back to her hotel room that led to one of them being charged with assault. details on lindsay's weekend straight ahead. will wednesday's debate between president obama and governor romney be a game-changer? and one senatorial candidate from indiana shows us what happens when you go cold on the tea party. you're watching msnbc on this sunday. does your phone give you all day battery life ? droid does. and does it launch apps by voice while learning your voice ? launch cab4me.
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♪ ♪ something to me ♪ ♪ ♪ that should do it. enjoy your new shower. [ door opens, closes ] at least 26 people were killed in a series of cord nated bombings across shiite neighborhoods in baghdad today. about 100 others were wounded. ten years after the sniper shootings that gripped the d.c. area with fear, lee boyd malvo is expressing remorse, telling the "washington post" that after
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seeing reaction of a victim's husband he felt like scum. and police say lindsay lohan was assaulted in her new york city hotel room last night apparently she got into an argument with a 25-year-old guy that she brought back to her room. the fight was over cell phone pictures the man took of lohan. the 26-year-old actress said he punched and choked her he's been charged with assault and harassment. election day is five weeks away, some voters in 30 states and the district of columbia are already voting. polls opened in iowa thursday, it's the first battleground state to start in-person early voting. mark murray is the senior political editor for nbc news, mark, good sunday afternoon to you, sir. >> hey, craig. >> let's put some numbers up on the screen. the new nbc news/"wall street journal"/marist poll has president obama up in all nine battleground states. in the same poll the president leads mitt romney 53% to 39% in
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nevada amongst folks who say they're going to vote early. while mitt romney leads 57% to 39% among election-day voters. the president's lead even big anywhere north carolina among voters, 57-41. how dot early voting numbers, how do they affect the race? >> they affect the race because you're trying to bank your votes. the people who are going to vote for you. the obama folks want those people to come out, turn out and vote right away. we've saw president obama campaigning in ohio earlier last week. and president obama had this message -- one, register to vote. and two when early voting starts, on tuesday october 2nd, go to the polls right now. they want to start banking the votes. it was a strategy in 2008. to prevent any type of october surprise, you want to get, if you're an obama voter go vote now and get that done. get it out of the way. >> you mentioned the october surprise, you look at the numbers closer than just about
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anyone i know. could there be an october surprise? and if there is one in those numbers that you look at, where might that surprise be? >> anything is possible. we have 37 days until the election. there is the opportunity for a big game-changer. i will tell you one of the big ironies of this entire presidential contest over the five or six months of the general election, when it started, every momentous event, whether it was president obama coming out in favor of gay marriage, every monthly jobs report number, the numbers barely budged in the press de s presidential contest. three events have had a big event on the presidential race, the democratic convention, the republican convention and mitt romney's remarks on the 47%. so the romney campaign is hoping that there is something coming up in the upcoming debates, first on wednesday and then the remaining debates that they can actually change the contours of this contest. you even had chris christie on the sunday show saying that the debates would change the narrative of this race. that is a lot of pressure the
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romney campaign is putting on the debates. >> mark hurry, nbc news, senior political editor, telling us those conventions do matter after all. thank you, sir, have great sunday. three days until the much-anticipated first presidential debate and the romney camp betting that the showdown as you just heard there, will be a game-changer. >> governor romney is going to lay out his vision for a better and greater america for greater opportunity for all of our citizens. and i think that's when you're going to see this race really start to tighten. and then move in governor romney's direction. come thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change. >> joined by chris kofenus communications editor. chris, let me start with you. is this thing going to be as governor christie just said, is it going to be a game-changer? >> well, thanks for chris christie for raising expectations. i mean here's the reality -- i
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think if everyone is speaking honestly and openly, if you're the romney campaign, you look at where you are, you're behind in almost every key battleground, you have to have a change in the narrative. there's only a few big events left. those are the debates to change narrative. he's got to go in the debate. not just do well, he's got to significantly rock the president. so that people come out of the debate saying wow, that's a new, that's a new romney candidate we didn't see before. >> joe watkins, is that possible? can you rock the president? is mitt romney capable of -- >> no. >> no. >> chris, why did you say it was possible? >> i know chris kofinis is actually being honest. president obama is an awesome debater. he's an excellent campaigner. i think that chances of rockinging him of course, that's a steep mountain to climb. think where the opportunity lies is for mitt romney to really get the attention of americans and really kind of bring him back to point. the way ronald reagan did in his debate against jimmy carter.
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people don't remember all the facts and figures, the recitation of the facts and figures, they remember a significant line or a significant phrase that brings them back to reality. >> senator john mccain is the only man who has debated both of these individuals. he weighed in on the expectations this morning. take a listen. >> serve and provide us -- >> it's not just that they go bankrupt, he doesn't understand -- >> comments that grabbed everybody's attention. because frankly, the candidates are too well prepared. they're well scripted. >> what you did not hear the beginning there, is the senator said i think you're going to see more viewers, than any debate in history. and then he also said he can't remember the last time that any of these things affected the outcome of a presidential race. save 1960 and 2000, have the debates ever really impacted the outcome of a race, chris kofinis? >> it's funny, i hear the debate about debates not necessarily mattering. and i actually disagree with
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that i think the 1980, the reagan/carter debate. the debates mattered. they matter in every election, they either reinforce a narrative in the election meaning we think we're going to vote for president obama. president obama does well in that debate and it reinforces that. or it reinforces the opposite. if you're governor rom any, he did very well in the debates and i think president obama is a good debater, not a great debater, to be frank about it. but the expectations game and the reality of what he has to accomplish is he has to go out there and change minds. and he has to do it when the fact is, when this is republicans ignored. they know him. they don't like his policies. >> go ahead, joe. >> i think that chris makes a great point. the 1980, ronald reagan really changed the course of the debate and helped himself by saying to americans, think back, are you better off today than you were four years ago, is it easier to get a job, are there fewer of you that are unemployed and by
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getting the american folks to concentrate on that as opposed to how much they like president carter really helped. >> that's a variation of the question that the romney campaign has been asking for several months and the results that they're getting based on the polling is not the answer that the romney campaign wants. >> well style matters in the debate. think about ronald reagan. jimmy carter had a lot of great lines in his debate with ronald reagan in the 1980 debate, but ronald reagan kept saying there you go again. in 1984 walter mondale was beating ronald reagan. but reagan said i'm not going to let age be a determining factor, because my opponent is younger than me and less experienced than me. he used humor and well-timed phrases make a big difference in these debates. >> chris, joe raises an interesting point, the same point that matthew dowd raised in a national journal piece. in preparing for the debates, romney and president obama needs
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to remember that judgments on winning or losing are much more stylistic than substantive. the public isn't interested in getting more detail-specific policy, but in getting pointers about people on stage. when debates have moved in the numbers in the past, it's been result the impressions, mannerisms, style. is it going to be all about style trumping substance? >> he's partly right. he debates especially when you see a significant change, are about moments. which candidate capitalizes on the moment. either that they engineer, or that they respond to because of the question. smart candidates go in the debate to define those moments. the problem i would say for governor romney is, it is more than just style. it is substance. if he gets asked on the stage. what specifically type of loopholes are you going to get rid of and he says, wait, i'm not going to tell you, i'm going to tell you after the election, it's one of those moments that will hurt him. >> it's style. think about newt gingrich. the way he handled the difficult
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question from cnn, in that second or third debate. he won the audience over, he won the debate by virtue of the style of which he answered that question. >> well he won the style part of the debate. but he's going to be watching the debate on wednesday, right? joe and chris, always a pleasure, gentlemen, thank you. still ahead here has the tea party glimmer started to fade? we're going to look at the latest example of a conservative candidate who, who's cooling the rhetoric a bit. first as the supreme court prepares to start its new term, we flash back to the beginning of the roberts court. this is msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you make 70,000 trades a second... ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ or help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪
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the senate confirmed roberts 78-22. justice john paul stevens administered the oath in the east room of the white house. tomorrow is the start of the new term of the supreme court and it's shaping up to be an important one for civil rights. toor more we turn to nbc news justice correspondent, pete williams. >> this supreme court term may be one of the most important in decades for civil rights. with the potential for blockbuster decisions on race and same-sex marriage. the court will examine the widespread practice of considering the race of students who apply for college. the case brought by a white high school senior, abigail fisher who said affirmative action kept her out of the university of texas. >> i always thought from the time i was a little girl that any kind of discrimination was wrong and for an institution of higher learning to act this way makes no sense to me. >> the university says it considers race as one factor in administrations to achieve a racially diverse campus. >> one of the greatest advantages of having a diverse
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student environment is it breaks down stereotypes and promotes cross-racial understanding. >> the court is likely to take up another racially charged issue, whether to scale back the landmark voting rights act. it requires states with a history of discrimination to get federal permission before making any changes in elections. but challengers say with more minorities elected nationwide, the law is outdated. >> we have african-americans, representing districts in the deep south that are almost all white. >> and the federal law called the defense of marriage act signed by president clinton. it says the federal government will recognize only conventional marriages, meaning no federal benefits in states where same-sex marriage is already equal. in the court did strike the law down, states would not be required to permit same-sex marriages but the federal government would have to recognize them where they're legal. craig, back to you.
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>> pete williams in washington. thanks so much for that let's switch gears to indiana and the senate race where things just got lot more interesting. a few months ago, tea party star, richard murdoch, defeated veteran republican senator richard luger. murdoch's campaign was built on framing dick luger as a rhino, a republican in name only. but guess who has gone rhino? you got it, it's murdoch. an apparent attempt to pander to moderate voters by scrapping the ultraconservative label and running toward the center. this includes suddenly coming out in support of parts of the president's health care plan. that's just one of the things. could this be a sign, though, that the tea party, that the tea is starting to cool for the tea party movement? joining me now from indianapolis, tom lobianco, political reporter for the "associated press." good afternoon to you. >> talk about a game changer here. could the latest poll showing murdoch two points behind his
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opponent. democratic congressman, joe donnelly, could it have anything to do with a sudden change of heart? >> both candidates here have sort of a fine line to walk. murdoch in this case, he needs to balance the tee party support that really helped him take out dick luger. someone who about a year ago seemed to be a favorite to win rae election. donnelly has to play the moderate bipartisan walk. and the question for murdoch in this case is how far can you tack to the middle without losing that base. >> the tea party candidates, they wrote in the washington on a wave of obstructionism. murdoch ran with the intention of joining the bandwagon when he got into office. list ton what he said on air in may, the day after he won the primary. take a listen. >> i certainly think that bipartisanship ought to consist of democrats coming to the republican point of view.
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bipartisanship means they have to come our way. >> now, as you report, murdoch now argues that he was never just a tea partier, but rather a regular republican with conservative values, murdoch saying he represents a new bipartisanship. will you also point out in your article that on top of supporting parts of president obama's health care plans, he wants to support entitlement programs like social security and medicare and even consider, wait for it, compromise. what does murdoch's move to the center, what does that say about the tea party overall now? >> i don't think that there's any expectation that the tea party in indiana would be able to carry one candidate through the general election. i'm not sure that there's enough quote-unquote tea party voters out there even in a red state like indiana. to carry one candidate. what richard is doing is expanding out a little bit. we, we sat down with him here on
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friday. and he, he talked to us a little bit. and expounded on that concept of compromise. what's interesting is that going back to your point, we played the clip from right after the primary. richard has gotten a little bit more articulate in how he talks about these things. but his fundamental concept of compromise has not changed all that much. on fiscal issues, for instance, still feels very much the same way. we pressed him extensively on that. >> maybe it hasn't changed, but the rhetoric sounds different. the rhetoric sounds different. tom, thank you so much, tom lobianco, "associated press" in indianapolis, appreciate your time. it was easy to get you since the colts are on a bye week. i guess. >> indeed. the president plans to hold up in sin city before the first debate coming up. coming up how the obama campaign is faring in the silver state. answers ahead, this is msnbc,
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in this week's battleground break down, we take a look at nevada. president obama is on his way to the state. he'll be landing any moment now, we're told. he'll be holding a rally tonight in las vegas. he'll be spending the next two days there preparing for wednesday night's debate in colorado. meanwhile, ann romney set to campaign in nevada as well. the 12.1% unemployment rate in nevada is the highest in the country. it could prove to be a huge obstacle for the president. so how much of a tossup is the silver state? back with us, ed o'keefe of the washington post and john rollston. john, let me start with you. how much of a tossup is it at
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this point? we know the president is leading governor romney by two points. is this pretty accurate? >> i think it's pretty ak rccac, although i think obama might be ahead by a little more. every poll that's released in the presidential race has shown the president ahead. if the republicans had data to rebut that, i'm sure they would have leaked it by now. as you mentioned, it's absolutely astonishing that with the economy we have here, highest unemployment in the country and foreclosure epicenter of the country, how are we doing so well for the president? it's because mitt romney has just not connected there. he made some unfortunate comments for him about the foreclosure crisis here. and it's the other thing you mentioned, craig, the latino vote. romney is getting absolutely crushed here among latinos. that can't be underestimated because last two cycles latinos made up 15% of the electorate. it may be even higher this time. you can't lose a demographic like that by 35 or 40 points and
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hope to win. >> you know, you mentioned an unfortunate comment. nevada is in the top five list of foreclosures in this country right now. i want to play something that governor romney said about foreclosures, and i want to get your reaction on the other side of the break and we'll talk about how this might be playing in nevada. take a listen. >> don't try and stop the foreclosure process. let it run its course and hit the bottom. >> ed, how much of a problem is that for governor romney in nevada? or have folks forgotten about it? >> no, i think those are the types of comments that when taken out of context or when people don't have the full context, people say, wait a minute. this is state that house suffered unlike any other. it adds to that narrative that democrats have enjoyed building this year, that this is a man who doesn't understand. in that kind of state, you have to somehow empathize with people suffering there and not
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necessarily suggest it could get worse. it's similar to how his comments on, you know, the bankruptcy of general motors have been used in ohio and in michigan against him and how, you know, other comments have certainly -- you know w that 47% comment. it's airing in ads all across the country. >> john, quickly i want to talk about that senate race. partisan poll shows that the incumbent republican senator there dean heller is trailing shelley berkeley. how could that impact the race? >> i think more of the presidential race will have an impact on senate race. shelley berkeley has been the underdog for a long time. polls showed her behind by about six points. the registration effort by the democrats, they've doubled their advantage here since january. it's possible that barack obama could drag shelley berkeley across the finish line in this state. i think that's really worrying
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republicans. >> his coat tails could be that long. john, ed, thank you so much. john, while i have you here, quickly, nevada, i just found out, referred to as the silver state. is it also known as the sage brush state and the battle born state? does it have that many nicknames? >> it is, indeed. battle born is the state's motto. silver state is the state's nickname. you can use all those any time you want, craig. >> john rollston, expert on all things nevada. appreciate your time, sir. also appreciate you reaffirm whag tim told me a few moments ago. >> absolutely. >> with early voting already underway in iowa, how many hawkeyes could still be persuaded either way? we'll dig deal into that. we'll also go inside the romney/ryan campaign with nbc news reporters who are with the gop nominees 24/7. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. ...what should we invest in? maybe new buildings?
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place for politics. it's 37 days until election day. just three days until the big first debate. and two new polls out this morning from these key swing states, who are giving the edge to president obama. a significant number of voters in one of those states say they still could be persuaded to change their minds. here's what's happening right now. in iowa this afternoon, the dnc making a push to get out the vote. congresswoman gabby wasserman-schultz firing up supporters today in des moines. >> we're so incredibly close to the finish line. we need to be in a full-on sprint all the way to election day over the next 37 days. >> and this week's debate will be a game changer. that's according to new jersey governor chris christie. he acknowledged on nbc's "meet the press" that romney is trailing in the polls but promised that's about to turn around. >> wednesday night's the restart of this campaign.
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i think you're going to see those numbers start to move right back in the other direction. governor romney's going to lay out his vision for a better and greater america for greater opportunity for all of our citizens. i think that's when you're going see this race really start to tighten and then move in governor romney's direction. >> meanwhile, the obama campaign today taking a very different approach. it is trying to lower expectations ahead of the debate. the campaign's traveling press secretary saying the president has had less time than expected to prepare in part because of the events in the middle east. new this afternoon, mitt romney is doing a full mock debate this afternoon in boston. senator rob portman, of course, will be playing the president. he's also there, we're told. and garrett is joining us now from boston. ron mott here in the studio. i'm going start with you, garrett. give us the latest on this mock
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debate prep. what are we talking about here? are we talking lights and makeup, everything? >> this is the whole nine yards, craig. this is the romney campaign's attempt to simulate game speed, if you will. the hardest thing to do is to get it to really feel like the real deal. this is at an event space here. they'll be under the lights, in front of the cameras, try to make it feel as real as possible for governor romney. have the top strategy and policy aids in place. portman's place will be to try to get under romney's skin. >> garrett, how would you characterize the amount of debate prep that governor romney has had so far? >> craig, it's sort of hard to say. the campaign very quickly started to deny essentially that they were doing debate prep. they described these sessions as private meetings. he's had a handful of full
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mock-up sessions or full 90-minute sessions. this being the first dress rehears rehearsal, if you will. they consider some of these big interviews he does, like the "60 minutes" interview from a few weeks back, as mirroring what you need to do for a debate. staying focused. you don't really get off the hook the way you do in a primary debate when you have a bunch of other folks on the state. >> ron mott, let's talk about this viet presidece presidentia. after wednesday that, becomes the next big story. paul ryan on fox news this morning talking about it. let's take a listen and talk about it on the other side. here it is. >> i'm not really a line guy. i'm more of a gut guy. you know me well. i don't try to be anybody other than who i am. i believe in what i believe. i do what i do. i really believe in the policies we're providing, that we're
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pursuing. >> what kind of debate can we expect there between joe biden and paul ryan? >> fii think if you ask a lot o republican folks, they're looking forward to this more so than presidential debate. they think they have a rock star in paul ryan. he'll have the opportunity to be fully unleashed in that 90-minute session with joe biden. one of the things he said to chris wallace today is he's not a line guy. he's not going to try to razzle-dazzle you with some line that sounds like it's been coined and in his back pocket for a month and a half. he's going to talk about the policies he and mitt romney want to put into play. he knows that vice president biden is going to come after him on his medicare and budget. >> how's he going to respond? >> they're ready. they want to be able to make the case to the american people that the real threat to medicare and its future is the president's affordable health care act, which they lovingly refer to as obamacare, and the fact that the
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president's plan extracts $716 million away to pay for that. what paul ryan isn't telling his supporters is that his budget proposal also extracts that amount, but they say they use that to pay down the debt. >> one of the things i'm most looking forward to is governor romney and president obama, their styles are slightly similar in a debate setting. in a vp, in that debate setting, the styles could not be more different. >> joe biden is prone to a gaffe here or there. he likes to speak off the cuff. in this format, paul ryan does not expect him to go off script very much. paul ryan, this is his first attempt at debating on the national stage. joe biden has been around the block a time or two. he's a skilled debater. if he stays on message, this could be a pretty interesting debate. the challenger always has to bring the fight. remember, joe biden is part of a
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tag-team championship team. paul ryan and mitt romney want to take that belt away from them, so they've got to bright the fing. he's going to have to come with a little bit of aggression f you will. >> we just heard from chris christie a few moments ago from this morning talking about debate changing the narrative, saying this is going to be a game changer. that's the first time we've heard one of the surrogates really raise expectations to that level. what are you hearing from the ryan campaign about the presidential debate on wednesday in terms of expectations? >> well, i think both sides have been trying to lower expectations. it's put you in the best position. you can almost win by losing the debate, if you will. if you don't meet the expectations, what you said, i'm up against a skilled orator in president obama or a very skilled politician, a four-decade politician in joe biden. i think the two candidates have been trying to lower those expectations. they do know that governor romney is pretty good. he's got 20 debates under his belt just in the past month with
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the republican primary. so i think the key now is to go out and deliver the message. a lot of folks have talked about governor romney needing to have a game changer. i don't know if a campaign really fully believes that. i think they need to -- they want him to be himself and present his ideas in a very presidential way. at the end of the 90 minutes, they hope the voter out there that's still undecided might be swayed to pull their support for him. >> ron mott, here in the studio, a guy who spends more time with paul ryan than just about my man in america. >> wearing down my shoes. >> good to see you. >> good to see you. >> garrett, i look forward to seeing you in person one day soon. >> thanks, craig. >> have a great sunday. three days before his first national debate since 2008, president obama entering the home stretch time, facing a growing amount of criticism over his reaction to the middle east conflict. the latest hit came from paul
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ryan. >> the response was slow. it was confused. it was inconsistent. they first said that it was a youtube video and a spontaneous mob. we now know it was a planned terrorist attack. if this was one tragic incident, that would be a tragedy in and of itself. the problem is it's part of a bigger picture in the fact that the obama foreign policy is unraveling literally before our eyes and tv screens. >> joining me now, the press secretary for the democratic national committee. good afternoon. >> good afternoon, craig. thanks so much for having me. >> the major criticism here is the administration put out mixed messages after the attack, but in defending itself, the campaign still seems to be putting out mixed messages. the romney cam calling attention to these statements. david axelrod and david pluff today. take a listen. >> the. president called it an act of terror the day after it happened. >> based on the recommendations in the investigation of the
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intelligence community, they made the decision to conclude that this was a terrorist attack. in the days after, that was not clear. >> why are we still hearing these mixed messages from the campaign? >> we're actually not hearing mixed messages. if you listen to the entire interviews of both, they said very much the same thing. that from the day the attack in benghazi happened, this president has been fully focused on securing our diplomats around the world and bringing justice to the killers from that attack. at every step of the way, this administration has had public statements that were based on the best information available at the time from the intelligence community. >> well, why not wait -- after it happened, after the attack happened, why not wait to say the this definitely wasn't a
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terrorist attack or it was a terrorist attack? why not wait? >> this has been ongoing. it's an ongoing investigation. it is natural two weeks from the attack to have more information than we had immediately following the attack. but again, this president has been fully focused on protecting the diplomats around the world and on bringing the killers to justice. as more information becomes available, we will continue -- or the administration will continue to update the american public and congress. but i would like to say that i think it is really ironic that republicans would make this attack when mitt romney has taken every opportunity to politicize this issue. president obama is not at all concerned about the republicans politicizing this. he's fully focused on securing our post around the world. >> let's turn our attention now to wentz nigdnesday night. it's been a long time since the president debated a political opponent. his day job, we understand, has
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made it a little difficult to find time to prepare for it. is he ready? >> well, the president is going to use this as an opportunity to speak directly to the american people, and he's taking the time that he can find. you know, mitt romney spent three straight days in vermont preparing for the debate. he's doing a full dress rehearsal today. president obama is lucky to find three consecutive hours to prepare for the debate. but he's a good speaker. he's going address the concerns of the american people and speak positively about the steps he's going to take to move the country forward and build an economy that's built to last and for the middle class out. i think mitt romney, though, that is had lots more time to prepare. he's experienced. he said himself that he won 16 out of the 20 republican debates. and the challenger has always been favored in five of the last six debates. >> i'll tell you one thing you guys have done well, you guys have done a great job of keeping the bar low over the past two
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weeks. to hear both campaigns tell it, you guys are going up -- i mean, it's abe lincoln. you guys have painted mitt romney out as abe lincoln. it's going to be fascinating to see what unveils on wednesday. play hypothetical with me here quickly. just 30 seconds. the next four years, if president obama is president obama again, what does the next four years look like in terms of his legislative priorities? >> the next four years is continuing on the path to growing this economy from the middle class out, investing in infrastructure, education, energy, implementing obamacare. there are many aspects left to be implemented so that all americans can fully realize the promise that was built by obamacare. so we are very excited about the next four years should president obama win, and we believe he will. >> thanks so much. appreciate your time on this sunday afternoon. >> thank you so much for having me. everyone remembers the
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slogan "we like ike," but what does the former military general have in common with president obama? and what can mitt romney learn from him? the man who wrote the book on ike joining us up next. plus, get aggressive or play defense? >> are you ready? >> i'm looking forward to the debates. i'll put it that way. >> we will break down debate strategy with our sunday brain trusts. well, i had all the classic symptoms...
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president obama's presidency and the current campaign have been marked by partisan
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bickering and gridlock in congress, so today we thought we'd take a look back at a figure who was so popular both parties wanted him as their candidate for the presidency. dwight david eisenhower was the man who commanded ally troops to victory in world war ii. he ultimately ran as a republican, of course, in 1952 and won becoming this country's 34th president in what was arguably the most dangerous period following the end of the second world war. the details are in a new book "ike's bluff: president eisenhower's battle to the save the world." the author is joining me now. good sunday afternoon to you. >> hi, craig. >> eisenhower may have been approached by both parties, but he made it clear he was a republican through and through. do you think president eisenhower would recognize today's republican party? >> well, he wouldn't love it. he had his own problems with his own right wing back then, but he would have -- he was a moderate,
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you know. he would not have loved the tea party. you know, how he would have dealt with it is hard to know because that was a different age. but, you know, eisenhower was somebody who believed in getting things done. he would not have loved all the posturing and politicking. >> president eisenhower seen today as a calm, reasoned leader. are today's republicans at alls noal judge for an eisenhower-type candidate? >> they don't seem to be. you know, the party likes strong, true believers. they actually -- it's a little weird because romney is, i think, at heart fairly moderate. he's had to appear very conservative, but i think he's probably in his own heart closer to eisenhower than he is to the tea party. >> do you think that if governor romney were following his heart right now, do you think the polls might look a little different, or do you think that might not be mattering as much? >> you know, that's a really
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interesting question. i don't know the answer to that. i'd like to think that, you know, obviously romney's not relating. that's why he's behind. i'd like to think that if he seemed more sincere, he would be doing better. i think people wonder if he's sincere. it's hard to -- again, it's hard to know what romney really believes. if you look back at his record, he's more moderate than conservative. frankly, i think he would have done better if he'd stouk that path. to get through the republican primaries, he had to go to the right. >> you don't win primaries in this country in the middle in either party. let's talk about your recent e-book "obama's last stand." you write about eisenhower's competitive nature. you talk about how he waited up for the results of he re-election bid in 1956 and said, quote, when i get in a battle, i just want to win the whole thing. are there echoes of that competitiveness in president obama? >> yeah, i mean, obama's very competitive. i mean, he's always on the
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basketball court trying to win. he's competitive at everything. he's competitive at cards. look, to be president, you have to be pretty competitive. what could be more competitive than running for president? but obama really is a competitor. his own aides talk about it. he just likes to win. so did ike. frankly, i think all the great ones are competitive. >> the president today has to deal with the threat, of course, of global terrorism. president eisenhower had to deal with the threat of nuclear annihilation as the cold war escalated. how do you measure the ability of a president to keep the country safe? how do you rate president obama and governor romney? how do they appear to measure up? >> eisenhower, of course, was lucky because he had one world war ii. not literally, but commanded the liberation of europe. so he had a lot of credibility. people trusted him. this is really important because he had to make very difficult decisions alone. ultimately, that's what we care about in a president. is he going to have good judgment? is he going to be wise when he's
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faced with the tough calls at home? i think obama has done pretty well on foreign policy pip don't think he's made bad calls. you can argue about it, but he's made tough calls on using these drones. he's had to kill a lot of people. he's been tough-minded about it. my guess is that eisenhower would have approved of the job that obama's done so far. i think romney, you know, he's never been president. how do you know? being governor of massachusetts doesn't really prepare few your that. romney seems to be a pretty sober-minded guy. he has reasonably good judgment as far as we can tell as a businessman. it's hard to know. the thing about the presidency is until you are president, you don't know. nothing really prepares you for it. >> thank you so much. appreciate your time this sunday afternoon. >> thank you, craig. and part of a bridge collapse during 405 construction. is carmageddon a sequel for california drivers? is. plus a lot of new polls are
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out. we're checking who's in the lead in ohio and iowa. we'll bring it to you on the other side of this break. you're watching msnbc, in case you hadn't heard, this is the place for politics. [ male announcer ] this is rudy. his morning starts with arthritis pain. and two pills. afternoon's overhaul starts with more pain. more pills. triple checking hydraulics. the evening brings more pain. so, back to more pills. almost done, when... hang on. stan's doctor recommended aleve. it can keep pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rudy. who switched to aleve. and two pills for a day free of pain. ♪ and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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the cadillac ats outmatches the bmw. i cannot believe i have ended the day not scraping some red paint off on these barriers. ♪ [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats. and now survey says, our look at the polls making news today. new numbers from two swing states suggest the road to the white house may be getting even tougher for mitt romney. first to iowa where a "des moines register" poll puts the president at 49% compared to mitt romney's 45%. one finding in that poll that could give romney hope, 10% of likely voters say they could still be persuaded to change their vote. meanwhile in ohio, a new poll showing president obama with a nine-point advantage over governor romney there. it's the fifth major poll taken
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in ohio this month that gives the president an edge of five points or more. meanwhile, the gallup poll has the president leading by five points nationally. meanwhile, massachusetts, that senate race, there's a new "boston globe" poll that shows the democratic challenger, elizabeth warren, ahead of republican senator scott brown by five points, 43 to 38%. but a full 18% in the state say they remain undecided. the president left for vegas this morning. how he's looking to cash in. and we've heard a lot of conservatives questioning whether the polls are skewed. are they oversampling democrats? there's been a lot of chatter about that over the past few days. r.a. melbourne is standing by to explain the truth behind the spin. that's coming up. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. [ female announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role
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i'm craig melvin. here's a look at some of the top storying makes news right now. we just learned moments ago that the assault charge we told you about earlier in the broadcast will be dropped against a man who was arrested for assaulting lindsay lohan in a manhattan hotel room. there's a political connection here as well. the man arrested for attacking her worked for republican illinois congressman john shimkus. in a statement a spokesman for the congressman telling us, quote, while no one from congressman shimkus' office has been contacted follows the arrest, he's been an employee in the congressman's washington office. obviously the congressman does not condone his actions. police sources tell "the new york daily news" that lohan and the man got in an argument after he refused to delete cell phone pictures of her. >> also, officials out west are
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saying carmageddon two will be over by 5:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. there was a setback yesterday during construction on the 405. a section of the mulholland drive bridge collapsed. but they say it's a successful sequ sequel. and what happened to these two kids is still a mystery this afternoon. at first the authorities thought the kids died in a fire along with their grandparents. there's still no evidence of that. now investigators are searching an expanded area past the fire scene looking for clues as to what really happened. back to politics now. conservative commentators had been slamming presidential polls this week complaining they're biased and not reflective of the changing dynamics of the race. msnbc contributor has been thinking about it and joins us on this sunday afternoon. hey, there. >> how you doing, craig? >> doing well, sir. what you got? >> well, you, like our audience, have probably heard that mitt romney is trailing in most
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polls. to fight the appearance of failure, many romney defenders have been attacking the polling industry. others have been complaining that most news organizations are packing their results with democrats just to make obama look good. now, that conspiracy theory is absu absurd. these same polls have produced years of results that make republicans look good too. but if you removed partisan paranoia, this debate can help reveal a misperception about polls. politicos and journalists alike like polls because they show a snapshot and show a random sample to represent the entire population. do americans think the economy is improving? a poll takes a sample of americans to find out. that scientific approach runs into a brick wall for election polling. that's because we never know exactly who's going to vote. so even if the results of a polling sample are solid, they
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have to be weighted by a prediction about who's going to vote this year. now, if the voter turnout is normal, those predictions tend to work. if turnout is unusual, the polls can be very off. for example n 2004, the same share of democrats and republicans turned out. 37% of the electorate apiece. in 2008, obama motivated an unusual turnout. there were 3% more independents that year and 7% more democrats overall. so today's polls are predicting a similar turnout. that makes sense, given the same candidate is running and some other data suggests loyalty within obama's base. but remember, it is just a prediction. if turnout in november looked more like 2004, the polls really would be a lot closer. and so would the real vote on election day. so i think all of that's worth keeping in mind, even if there's no conspiracy. >> all right. thank you so much, sir. just a quick question. could one of the things also that skew some of these polls
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according to some, could it be there are, in fact, more democrats registered to vote in a lot of these places? >> that can definitely affect it. what the pollsters do and why the fox news critique, although silly in attacking the motivations, is not silly in helping us understand what goes on. no matter how many people are registered, there's then a prediction. there are states where a lot of republicans are registered, but most independent pollsters have come to a conclusion that we're still going to see more democrats turn out. if you look at different segments from youth to african-american voters, there's a lot of reason to believe that. >> let's bring in ed o'keefe, reporter for "the washington post." pete is also joining us. thanks for stopping by. >> thanks for having me. >> new jersey governor chris christie weighed in on this. i want to play what he said and talk about it on the other side. take a listen. >> do you buy this argument that some conservatives are making that polls are skewed against
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mitt romney? >> i don't buy that. >> not sure, right? >> i don't think it's intentional. you look at every poll and its methodology and you can say whether it's a good or bad poll. do i think there's a concerted effort to skew the polls against governor romney? no, i don't buy that. >> peter, what do you make of his debunking the conservative assertions there? >> yeah, i don't think there's any systematic effort to skew the polls against mitt romney. if you look back historically, you've seen years in which polls have said, oh, this republican's ahead and shouldn't have. you've also seen years in which the polls have said that a democrat's ahead and shouldn't have. polls have been weighted one way or another in a particular year. systemically, historically over the past three decades or so, you just haven't seen any systematic bias against one party or the other. >> ed, this race has often been compared to that 1980 race between then president jimmy carter and ronald reagan. according to the gallup tracking
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poll, reagan was ahead and ended up losing by double digits. compare president obama's lead over mitt romney right now. 6%. it's outside the margin of error. could president obama suffer a loss in the same way as president obama carter did despite the lead with more than a month to go, ed o'keefe? >> of course. that's why the only poll that matters is the one that's taken on election day when people actually vote. these polls are meant to serve as quick snapshots of how people were feeling at varying points in time. we use them because we're eager to understand how it is that the electorate is reacting to everything going on. five weeks remain. what is it, 37 days? anything can happen. it could be the debate on wednesday. it could be some other surprise on wednesday or here in the united states. everything could change. that's why it's important that everyone remember that these are just quick snapshots. we use them. it behooves journalists to make sure we don't rely on them too
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much to start drawing conclusions. >> we do love polls here. it gives us something to talk about. let me ask you this. i have a buddy who contends one of the effects of these polls is people read all that stuff. if you don't read the polls and you deduce, our guy didn't have a shot, i'm not going to bother showing up in november. what type of effect do you think that it potentially has on independent voters? >> that's a great question. i think it's something people get frustrated about with the press, which is as we report on these things, we sometimes are accused of getting in the way of the process. i think if you're down two or three points, it's not a big deal. i've worked on campaigns where you can definitely get past that with most voters. if you start to slip out of the what i would call the aura of reasonability, you're down eight, ten, you get written off. in the context of presidential campaigns, you see your donors and other people that might be
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helpful say, enough with this. this is a losing element. i'm not going to throw money after it and help the senate or help other goals. it has a real echo effect, even if some of the sampling predictions are wrong. >> it happened to me a few times in the last week when i was in ohio. i was talking to republicans. i said, you support romney? i said, yeah, but the polls show that he's going to lose, so i don't know. i might not support him as strongly. then you talk to lawmakers and other republicans about these polls and they said, well, you guys are being biased. >> of course. >> they claim that media is biased, and here we are having a conversation, and they're trusting i'm going to present that argument. it shows you whichever side is losing, they start to attack the messenger a little bit because it's perhaps the only tool they have. >> we invite you on because you always add clever catch phrases. when we come back, we'll have an opportunity to create another
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phrase. quick break. when we come back, a big week ahead on the campaign trail. we'll tell you where the candidates are going. we'll also preview the big stores we'll all be talking about. up next, the president has touched down in vegas, we're told, for a big campaign rally tonight. what's at stake for president obama? when we return. ♪
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♪ [ female announcer ] for everything your face has to face. face it with puffs facial tissues. unlike the leading regular tissue, puffs has soft, air-fluffed pillows for 40% more cushiony thickness. so you can always put your best face forward. face every day with puffs softness. as we just mentioned, president obama just landed in las vegas a short time ago. after a rally tonight, he will be spending the next couple of days there preparing for the debate. kristen welker in sin city on a sunday to give us a preview of tonight's rally. hi there, kristen welker. >> reporter: hey, craig. good afternoon. that's right, president obama set to speak here at desert pines high school in just a few hours. this is his eighth trip to the
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key battle ground state of nevada. our latest poll shows him with a slight lead, however it's the state with the highest unemployment rate. the obama campaign certainly not taking this state for granted. that's one of the key reasons why they have decided to hold debate preparations here in nevada. they're hoping to generate a little bit of buzz and voter excitement while president obama's hunkering down, preparing for the debates. looking ahead over the next couple of days, president obama will be debating with john kerry. of course, he is someone who is no stranger to presidential debates. now, campaign officials tell us that so far they have had four mock debates. not as many as they would have hoped. they say president obama had to cancel a few given he's dealing with issues like the unrest in the middle east. that's what they're telling us. we can also tell you they're trying to tamp down expectations ahead of wednesday's big debate. we're told according to campaign officials they're working with the president to try to get him to shorten some of his answers.
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as you know, this president has been described as long-winded at times. campaign officials feel as though that's not conducive to having a successful debate performance. so they're trying to encourage him to give shorter, crisper answers to make sure his key points don't get lost on wednesday night. as i said, both sides are trying to tamp down expectations. we cannot overstate that. they are really keeping praise on one another. there's really a lot at stake on wednesday night. mitt romney trying to reinvigorate, trying to turn his campaign around. president obama really trying to build on some of the momentum that he has seen in recent days. of course, we've seen him pull ahead in the national polls but also in some of the key battleground states. he's hoping to hold on to his lead and build on that momentum. >> kristen welker with the president in las vegas. thank you so much. appreciate that. >> reporter: thanks, craig. i want to bring back our brain trust here.
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ed o'keefe from "the washington pos post", ed, and our correspondent for the nation. thanks for coming back. as kristen just mentioned, the president stepping off the campaign trail at least two days before the debate to prepare. former governor howard dean had some advice for the president. take a listen. >> the key to a debate, if you want to see how it moves the american people, is to turn off the sound. watch the mannerisms. that's what they say. there may be a zinger that could change things. it's not what they say. it is their mannerisms. it's how they come across. i agree with this idea. the president has to avoid being irritable. >> in today's "new york times," al hunt cautions the president not to look like president al gore did back in his 2000 debates against then governor bush. in the debates this week and the ones to follow, it's this potential for showing gore-type scorn for your opponent that's the chief danger for mr. obama. do you agree, peter?
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>> i don't know if that's the chief danger. certainly it is a danger. one of the interesting things about that particular state, you know, just to talk about the location a little bit more is that with the economy struggling so much, with housing struggling, with unemployment so high in that state in nevada, that state really reveals a lot of the weaknesses of romney and the romney campaign. romney's entire message is that the economy is struggling and it's obama's fault and therefore you should vote for me. yet, romney is behind in every single poll that i'm aware of in nevada. he hasn't been able to wrap it up in this state with one of the worst economies in the united states. that really shows, you know, the limits of that message and how much his campaign is struggling to get it across. >> craig, can we talk about -- is it okay if i talk about roger ales for a second? >> is it somehow connected to this, or do you just have an urge to talk about roger ales right now? >> it's connected.
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you played an interesting sound bite from governor dean saying it's all about how you look on mute. in roger's book, he talks about how he used to choose his local ancho anchors by watching them on mute. it may sound. superficial, but a lot of things in politics are superficial. that is why mitt romney does stand to gain on wednesday. because just the image of him up there, an equal to this current president, will be a very different look, a good look for him compared to a lot of the ways he's been clipped and quoted recently that haven't been to his benefit. >> before people take to twitter, i want to dispel this notion that here at msnbc you have to ask permission before you mention roger. that's not true. ed, i want to bring you back into this discussion. style over substance. which is more important on wednesday for governor romney?
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>> well, i think it's whatever clip, you know, is going to be reaired the next morning on the "today" show and local newscasts across the country. you're looking for the big zinger or the gaffe that might get replayed. we all remember al gore sighing his way through those debates or awkwardly approaching george w. bush at that one. we recall a great like against dan quail in 1988. those are the types of lines we're looking for. there was news today that, in fact, romney has been practicing zingers he could use against the president at some point just in case it comes up in conversation. they're all looking to score for that sound bite that will be replayed the next morning. >> i think that lloyd benson line was the, you, sir, are no jack kennedy. quick break here. going to bring back the brain trusts on the other side. stick with me. don't go anywhere.
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coming up -- >> i have a bad reputation to be straight, telling you what i think. sometimes all that i think. >> which candidate is most likely to go off script next? and what are the big stories that will drive the debate? a sneak peek of tomorrow's headlines today. that's next. and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range... ...our budgets won't be picking the style. we will. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. right now get $37 basic installation on all special order carpet.
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guys, give me your prediction. what will your publication's headline be thursday morning after the debate? ed, i'll start with you. >> i'll go short and simple. romney, obama spar in denver. >> that's the headline, really? that's your headline, ed? >> we'll see. if they leave it as a draw, it will draw attention to the next one. if one of them knocks out the other, then i think certainly we'll be focusing. >> that's not the kind of
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headline that gets page views. peter, can you one up that? >> i'm going to go with bad plans versus no plans. the chief issue for this election is the economy. obama's going to offer at the debate a defense of his record and a little bit of small ball proposals for what he would do in a second term. basically expending on what he's already done. romney's response is going to be, you know, obama has screwed this all up, has gone about the economy entirely wrong. and when people ask him what would you do instead, his response is going to be, well, obama's done it all wrong. >> a replay of what we've heard over the past five or six months. >> well, we don't usually write our headlines in advance, but i would go with "unchanged game" as the most likely. the polling since the advent of television debates have shown very rarely do the debates actually alter the underlying dynamics in the race, number one. number two, the voters know that
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mitt romney has fundamentally a 1% mentality. i don't think he's going to change that perception in this deba debate. >> peter, do you think we'll at least get a few zingers? >> oh, romney has been practice them and memorizing them. he's had his staff writing them for him. i think we're going get to hear a couple of them whether or not any of them will land or make headlines or those are the things we end up talking about the day after. i mean, what's really going to be interesting here is how obama deals with, say, romney's 47% remark with whether romney brings up things like obama's bit wither clingers remarks from previous elections. how some of these issues have made, you know, big news cycle headlines that have dominated discussion over the past couple of months get talked about between the candidates because the two of them have not talked about these things, you know, together in a place where we can see how they're actually responding to each other. >> you know, we're talking about the presidential debate because
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it's coming up on wednesday. i am most excited about the paul ryan/joe biden square off. that's going to be good television, no? >> i think it's going to be great. you can see this with the "saturday night live" test. who do you want to see the impression of? the impressions of biden are amazing. they play up his gaffes and his emotional oversharing. that's what makes it fun. last cycle you want to talk numbers. last cycle the vice presidential debate drew a larger audience than any of the three presidential debates. people do tune into this. it does affect decisions. >> remember, biden didn't do anything to hurt himself in that debate, and we'll have to wait and see if he does that next week. >> that's literally true. >> we will have to leave it there. many thanks. do appreciate your spending so much of your sunday with us. and do appreciate you as well for watching. this, of course, msnbc, the place for politics, even on the
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weekends. i'm craig melvin. i'll be back next weekend here on msnbc. have a fantastic sunday evening. jack, you're a little boring. boring. boring. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring. that's how i met marilyn... giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire [ male announcer ] use any citi card to get the benefits of private pass. more concerts, more events, more experiences. [ jack ] hey, who's boring now? [ male announcer ] get more access with the citi card. [ crowd cheering, mouse clicks ]
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